Thursday, October 10, 2013

Life Expectancy And Income

Everybody should be well aware that in the US the wealthy have a higher life expectancy than the poor. Many might be under the impression that this might be due to the poor not being able to get good medical treatment in the US. But in Germany we are seeing a very similar picture. Yes, private insurance might play some role, but the public health insurance in Germany is actually very good.

The Max-Planck-Institute (German pdf) for demographic research, showed that the life expectancy of 65 year old males who expect high pensions is in West-Germany 4.8 years higher than that of of those who get very low pensions, but still worked for their whole life. In the new Bundesländer (states) they will live 5.6 more years.

In the middle 1990ies the difference wasn't as high as it is today. The wealthy could everywhere in Germany expect to live around 3.5 years longer than those with low pensions. Women, foreigners, self-employed and state employees are not included in the study. Also only those who who worked for most of their life were included.

In Germany the so called "left wing" SPD and Merkel's CDU decided in 2007 to increase the eligibility age stepwise from 65 to 67. The reasoning at the time was that a) people live longer than in the past and b) the demographic situation made it necessary. But while it is true that wealthy people do see a steady increase in life expectancy, this is not true to the same extent for poor workers. Even worse: it is easily possible to stare at a screen until one is 67, but very much unlikely that the same is true for somebody who is for example a roofer.

This so called reform was not only nothing more than an euphemism for cuts, it also redistributes wealth from the poor to the rich. It's how the German new labor rolls, I guess.

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